Finally, I’ve figured what is so fatiguing about night float. The shift is only 12 hours, so we actually spend less time in the hospital per day this way than usual. But no matter how hard I try to believe that it’s a normal day (at night), it’s impossible to completely ignore the fact that I spend two days in the hospital, but go back each evening on the same day that I started. So I spend less than a day at home, and two days at the hospital. . . or something like that. Anyway, overnight feels like a longer, more significant length of time than a day.
Plus, of course, the inevitable 2am disaster; I can almost set my clock by this one, and usually from the same floor (admittedly the busiest surgery floor, so it’s not really their fault). The only question is how big of a mess it’s going to be: can it be handled on the floor, does it require moving to a step-down unit, or all the way to an ICU, and how many times am I going to have to call people at home to inform them of developments before things quiet down?